(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi,
president of the ruling Congress party, are in Assam today, visiting areas
where monsoon rains have left almost a million people homeless. At least 77
people have died from landslides. Another six are missing. Overall, some 2,000
villages in 27 of the northeastern state's districts are said to be under water.
prime minister announced a subsidy of 100,000 rupees (US$ 1,800) per victim. The
Defence Ministry is providing the full assistance of the army in the rescue
the people of Assam are going through what many say is the worst flood since
1998, the rest of India is dry, with serious consequences for agriculture.
with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the rains should hit northern
states at the end of this week, later than the 29 June forecast given as the
start of the monsoon season. Compared to last year, 83 per cent of the country
saw an average 31 per cent drop in rain.
seasonal monsoons, which were the exception but are now almost the rule, have
raised concerns in a country where 235 million people are farmers. For this
reason, the authorities have launched a US$ 75 million plan to study and
forecast with greater accuracy the arrival of monsoons.
plan includes the use of computer models developed by the UK and the US.
the monsoon will be a major priority of the government for the next five
years," said Shailesh Nayak, a senior official in the ministry of earth